The Floppy-Haired Fellows

Unlike harder-to-pull-off trends like the Bowie do, the updated porn shag can work for anyone. “Just yesterday, someone got in my chair and it was exactly that,” said Jordan M. “Straight guy, Rolex, works in an art department, and he had the trimmed beard and long shaggy hair, pushed back loosely, probably doesn’t use any product. He basically told me, ‘The more you can make it look like I cut it, the better.’”

The faux–low maintenance of the look eases this transition, in some men, from Paul Bunyan to Kenny Rogers. “You got into a period where everyone was rough and rugged, and soon enough it’s going to be the complete opposite,” predicted Eddy Chai, co-owner of the popular men’s boutique Odin. Mr. Chai foresaw a welcome loosening of clothes to accompany the boyish, floppy shift in hair, democratizing men’s dressing back into a straightforward, unironic affair. After all, Mr. Boal and Mr. Reitman were hardly the best-looking men at the Oscars, but the look, inclusive with an air of historical significance, lent them a flatteringly low-key intellectual edge.

On Sunday, March 14, Gabriel Berezin, 33, the guitarist and singer for the bands Monuments and Ghost Gamblers, was weathering the rain on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint in an updated Laurel Canyon look he pegged to 1970. “You know who it was?” he said, asked to name his inspirations. “There was a picture of Paul McCartney right after the Beatles broke up, when he first started doing solo stuff. I remember being in college, saying, ‘If I could just get my beard and hair looking like that, I’d be totally psyched. Of course, I couldn’t grow a beard at that point. It took me a long time to get the beard in this condition.’ (He said he trims and clips his beard every few days with scissors or a trimmer.)

Mr. Berezin admitted he thinks about his hair “in terms of some old idea of what a musician looks like,” since “part of being artistic is not really giving a shit.” But still, he has a day job to think about these days, and a girlfriend.

“I think it’s kind of rude to have a superlong beard,” he said. “It’s hard for a girl to navigate through.” (Of course, the grizzled look poses its own perils, like a certain prickliness during one act of love.)

Meanwhile, Jordan M, from Bumble & Bumble, cautioned that the rounded shape of ’70s hair-and-beard combinations can add an unwanted fullness to the face. “When the hair’s longer on the sides, it doesn’t look like masculine or flattering to me,” he said.

But early adopters of the trend say they’re not after flattery, but comfort. Indeed, Mr. Reid, the retro-shagged designer, who said he’d been in a continuous process of growing out and shaving off a Paul Bunyan beard since college, suggested the whole thing might be accidental. “You’re probably seeing a lot of guys saying they want a change, and that’s where they’re at—in the in-between,” he said. “It’s hard just to take the full plunge of cutting [your beard] off and going back to nothing.”

mbryan@observer.com

SLIDESHOW: A history of floppy hair, from the Kennys (Rogers and Loggins) to the Jasons (Schwartzman and Reitman) >>